A member of Afghanistan’s nationwide youth soccer staff was among the many individuals who have been killed as they tried desperately to cling to a U.S. navy aircraft evacuating folks from Kabul, the nation’s official sports activities federation stated Thursday.
His title was Zaki Anwari, and he was 17.
On Monday, a crowd of Afghans surged onto the tarmac of the worldwide airport within the frantic scramble to flee a rustic newly overrun by the Taliban. In a scene that shocked the world, and in only one wrenching second encapsulated the chaos of America’s exit from Afghanistan, a few of them chased plane carrying People and tried to climb onto their sides, wings and wheels.
The younger soccer participant was amongst them, the federation stated.
“Anwari was considered one of a whole bunch of younger individuals who needed to depart the nation and, in an incident, fell off an American navy aircraft and died,” the group stated in a statement on Facebook.
The sports activities neighborhood of Afghanistan was in grief, the assertion stated. It wished Zaki a spot in heaven and provided a prayer that God grant his household, mates and teammates peace and endurance as they mourn.
The federation posted images of Zaki sporting his staff’s purple jersey — he was No. 10 — and standing on a soccer area. One other photograph confirmed him in a go well with and tie. Beside them have been images of an airborne U.S. navy aircraft with what seemed to be a falling physique and a single purple rose.
Video taken on Monday confirmed no less than two our bodies dropping to the bottom from an airplane shortly after it took off. The Pentagon confirmed that two folks had died falling from the aircraft, and physique components have been found within the touchdown gear of the plane after it landed in Qatar.
In a phone interview on Thursday from Kabul, Aref Peyman, the top of media relations for the sports activities federation and for Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee, confirmed Zaki’s loss of life.
Mr. Peyman stated Zaki got here from a low-income household in Kabul and had labored very laborious to realize his dream of being on the nationwide soccer staff whereas additionally attending faculty.
“He was variety and affected person, however like so a lot of our younger folks he noticed the arrival of the Taliban as the tip of his goals and sports activities alternatives,” Mr. Peyman stated. “He had no hope and needed a greater life.”
Many Afghans took to social media to voice shock and anger.
“Disgrace on the Taliban,” wrote Marzieh Zal on the federation’s Fb web page.
Perceive the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
Who’re the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that got here after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, together with floggings, amputations and mass executions, to implement their guidelines. Right here’s extra on their origin story and their record as rulers.
“Relaxation in peace pricey Zaki, I can’t consider you aren’t with us anymore,” wrote Mohammad Sharif Ahmadi in one other publish.
The speedy collapse of Afghanistan to Taliban management set off panic amongst many Afghans, together with athletes, who feared a return of extremist non secular rule would carry concerning the finish of their careers and different alternatives.
One Olympic athlete, the sprinter Kamia Yousufi, 25, who carried Afghanistan’s flag on the Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo, has since fled to Iran, media experiences stated. Mr. Peyman confirmed these experiences.
President Biden has come beneath sharp criticism for the way the U.S. navy has withdrawn from Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation. Mr. Biden has defended his dealing with of the exit. In an ABC Information interview, he was additionally requested concerning the individuals who died clinging onto the aircraft and dismissed the query.
“That was 4 days in the past, 5 days in the past,” he stated.